Thursday, March 22, 2012

When is the Best Time to Exercise?

So you’ve heard me say that working out in the morning is awesome, but I wanted to take a second to make one thing clear. If you have read anywhere that you burn more calories at a certain time of day, that may not be true. There is really no scientific evidence to prove that everyone’s bodies burn more calories if they work out in the morning, in the afternoon, or at night.

Now, that is not to say that there is no best time for YOU to work out. Each person is different, and so we should not treat our bodies the same. For some, working out in the morning gives you that energy boost for the day and gets your metabolism going. For others, working out right before dinner means that your body would be burning calories way into the night. So how do you know what works for you?

Trial and Error
Frankly, the easiest way to figure it out is by trial and error. Exercise at different points in the day and see how you feel afterwards. Do you get unbelievably hungry and eat everything in sight? Or do you get energized and not need a coffee before that first morning meeting?

Scheduling Conflicts
Another way to find out what works for you is to focus on your schedule. If you find that you get off work really late, then maybe night time exercise is not for you. If you are the type that needs an exercise partner for motivation, and all your friends want to work out at noon, then maybe it’s time to become a lunch-hour burner. But schedule plays a major role because if you don’t find a time that usually works, you would probably become a slacker.

Non-Exercise Related Habits
You other non-exercise habits play a major role. If it takes such a long time for you to fall asleep at night, maybe working out in the morning is not for you because you’d be tired every morning. If you like to go for drinks right after work, then maybe you shouldn’t hit the treadmill after you’ve had a cocktail. And of course, if you are a woman, your hair habits really determine when you work out. I mean, you can’t have a sweaty weave at work.

If you’re hell bent on exercising in the morning, there are two things you should know:
  • "Research suggests in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better," says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego. This is probably just because you are starting your day out right and life does not get in the way.
  • Cardio in the morning tends to give you more energy than weights do.

If you are a night person, here are two things to note:
  • People who exercise after work usually tend to sleep better at night. So if you are having trouble sleeping, this might be a good approach for you.
  • Because you are not lounging on your couch, there is less temptation to pig out in front of the TV. Most people use their time at night to laze around in front of the television and get tempted to pull out that bowl of ice-cream.
Cheers Eights & Weights!

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